PGA players’ agents were contacted by the Justice Department’s antitrust division, which inquired about bylaws governing player participation in other golf events and changes the PGA had made to tour stops in reaction to the LIV, like increasing the available winnings at certain tournaments, according to the Journal.
Since the LIV Invitational Series’ inaugural event in London in early June, multiple PGA Tour players have been suspended from tour events because of their involvement with the controversial league.
A spokesperson for PGA Tour told HuffPost they aren’t surprised by the investigation and referred to an issue in 1994, when the Federal Trade Commission said the PGA Tour broke antitrust laws by requiring members of the tour to present releases to compete in both non-PGA tour and televised events.
“This was not unexpected,” the spokesperson said. “We went through this in 1994, and we are confident in a similar outcome.”
Greg Norman, who serves as the commissioner and chief executive of LIV Golf, told The Palm Beach Post the DOJ investigation is a “testament to the stupidity” of the PGA Tour.
“Instead of sitting down and taking a phone call from us and just say, ‘Hey, work this out. We can do it.’ It’s such an easy fix it’s ridiculous,” Norman said.
Opponents of the new golf tournament say Saudi Arabia is using the sport to launder its reputation, particularly the country’s history of human rights violations. Read more of HuffPost’s coverage of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf here.